The Forty Year Old Hippie

Brings the Computer Age Home

This is an autobiographical story more or less. I wrote and drew this as a request from Steve Ditlea who was putting a book together titled, “The Digital Deli.” I had been employed at Atari Computers for about three years, and Steve suggested we do a Forty Year Old Hippie in the Computer Age. At that time, there were just Atari and Apple home computers that ran software, games and an early spreadsheet called “VisiCalc.”

Of course, I had to work in Child Person, and a precursor to kids being obsessed with video games.

Once the Hippie managed to intervene and spend some time on the computer, he uses “SurviCalc” (We need this program today!) to figure out a survival plan.

A little-known fact: The Hippie was the inventor of Crunchy Granola which qualified him for a job as a product manager and he’s off to Silicon Valley. I made this commute five to six days a week from San Francisco for three years. I eventually moved to the Valley and have been working in high technology ever since. Now I need SurviCalc!

Here we find the Hippie at a high-technology home computer technology company. While at Atari, I managed a creative group that did all the hardware and software packaging for Atari Computer products and the package designs are spoofs on Atari’s products. Also, office cubicles had just been invented a few years earlier, and I thought they were really great…

During the three years I worked at Atari, the management recruited all these classical consumer product executives from big package goods companies. I wrote and drew this meeting scene with insider knowledge!

The classic “Consumer Electronics Show” set in Las Vegas. Not much as changed since the early 80’s. The CEO character, Evan D. Bosse is loosely based on several top executives I knew at Atari. Little did they know there was a cartoonist in their midst!

I ended this story on an ambiguous note, thinking I wanted to carry it on into a myth at the time: It was rumored that Atari had buried millions of unsold game cartridges in the California desert. What if these cartridges were all connected into a psychotic super computer with a sentient intelligence?